You might think it’s odd to be talking about supporting hydraulic fracturing at a smart-growth conference. But, then again, there are some who would say there isn’t anything particularly smart about urban growth of any kind. Yet, growth happens, and someone has to manage it.
In areas of the country impacted by hydraulic fracturing – commonly called fracking – it turns out that growth happens a lot, and seemingly overnight, bringing with it a long list of issues reminiscent of the fabled California gold rush of 1849.
If you thought PACE financing was dead on arrival, think again! Some jurisdictions are still using Property Assessed Clean Energy programs to help finance housing retrofits, despite a controversial 2010 ruling by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, according to speakers at a Jan. 31 webinar hosted by Applied Solutions.
PACE financing programs allow private property owners to install small-scale renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements to their buildings and pay for the cost over its functional life through an on-going assessment on property tax bills.
Do you think investing in the latest high-tech HVAC and on-site renewable energy systems is the only way to create an energy-efficient building? Well, architects in Europe are suggesting you think again.
Passive House, a standard for green design and construction developed in Germany, is now being applied in the U.S. as a simplified and less mechanized approach to meeting rigorous standards of energy efficiency.
Setting a good example is what governmental and religious institutions are expected to do, and two in Iowa did just that by showcasing just how efficient new buildings can be when following best practices in energy and water management.
Developers of a government building in Des Moines and a skilled nursing facility for elderly nuns in Dubuque presented their case studies at a conference on Oct. 3.
From eyesores to desirable living spaces, old industrial buildings are getting a second chance and being rehabilitated into green gems.
They are retired mills, factories, schools, hospitals and military installations. Some are still associated with the original businesses that occupied them, such as Nabisco and General Electric.
DENVER, Colo. -- As the Rocky Mountain region experienced scorching, record-breaking temperatures in late June, and as fires engulfed significant swaths of Colorado, energy policy experts convened in Denver to discuss ways to mitigate harmful greenhouse gas emissions by the nation’s buildings. With climate scientists positing links between the temperature extremes and CO2 emissions, the recent events cast a suggestive backdrop to the gathering.
The U.S. Department of Energy-sponsored conference, called the Better Buildings Summit for State and Local Communities, brought together close to 300 participants June 26-27 to share strategies to make buildings – whether commercial, multi-family residential or public-sector properties – more environmentally-responsible and energy-efficient.
Envision a green neighborhood and you might think of energy-efficient buildings, bike lanes, parks and open spaces. Creating a green neighborhood means implementing some of these sustainable design concepts from the very beginning.
New neighborhoods – or those with at least half the square footage of their buildings undergoing major renovations – can look to the criteria outlined in LEED for Neighborhood Development. And, hitting those benchmarks can mean getting officially certified as a green neighborhood.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -– As America’s expanding urban areas struggle with major water supply shortages and runoff pollution problems, capturing rainwater from rooftops provides a tremendous untapped opportunity to increase water supply and improve water quality, according to a recent analysis on Capturing Rainwater from Rooftops by the Natural Resources Defense Council.
In its report, NRDC demonstrates the benefits and potential of rooftop rainwater capture, a "green infrastructure" practice that can be used to retain stormwater runoff on-site, by analyzing ways in which eight diverse U.S. cities could incorporate this simple water collection approach.
If you're wondering how America will ever meet President Obama's
goal of making commercial buildings 20 percent more energy
efficient by 2020, Jeff Boldt says the technical part is easy - all
a local government has to do is download and
adopt the recently updated ASHRAE energy codes already developed by
government and industry researchers.
The politics of making those changes might be a bit trickier, he
If you're a local government that still hasn't implemented energy efficiency retrofits in your municipal buildings, Colin Dunn has a message for you: Energy Star can light the way to reducing consumption by 10 percent at almost no cost. And, using the program's assessment tools, you can prioritize the low-cost investments that could help achieve even greater returns - in some cases reducing energy costs by as much as 40 percent.
As a senior associate at The Cadmus Group, Dunn gave a presentation at the recent Growing Sustainable Communities Conference in Dubuque, Iowa, demonstrating a number of no-cost tools and resources available from Energy Star to help track and reduce energy use, prioritize investments, and demonstrate real savings over time.
Safe, comfortable, pleasant housing is what many people dream of
having. But if housing is dangerous, inefficient and a detriment to
neighborhoods, it can turn into a nightmare instead of a dream.
Hazardous housing though, if properly treated, can become green,
healthy and sustainable, according to Ruth Ann Norton, executive
director of the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning. Her
agency designed and implemented the Green and Healthy Homes
Initiative (GHHI), a national public-private partnership "that
refocuses how we as a nation repair and improve housing in
economically challenged communities."
Improving the energy efficiency of buildings is a key step in a
community's journey toward sustainability, and public/private
partnerships often play a vital role in that transformation. This
was the message delivered by three speakers at the National
Association of Counties' 76th Annual Conference and Exposition held
recently in Portland, Ore.
In a session entitled "Smart Communities and Smart Buildings:
How They Improve the Economy, Environment and Experience," Lisa
Petterson, Tom Shircliff and Ray Rapuano highlighted examples from
Portland to Charlotte, N.C., and beyond.
SEATTLE -- Facing recessionary declines in occupancy rates and
rental income, along with the increasing cost of utilities,
commercial property owners in Seattle are feeling the pinch. In
response to these market conditions, the city and a group of
private entities have united to create a high-performance building
district in downtown Seattle.
The Seattle 2030 District is intended to ease the stress on the
commercial real estate market by helping owners and developers find
innovative financing, share critical tools and best practices and
create joint educational opportunities to decrease their buildings'
energy consumption and operating costs. Cumulatively, these actions
are expected to increase cash flow and property values, reduce the
risk of default, increase commercial real estate desirability,
create new jobs, and help keep Seattle's edge as a desirable city
in which to work and live in the 21st century.
The city of Boulder, Colo. has developed a program to take the hassle out of energy efficiency for homeowners - including rental-property owners - that relies on the use of an energy consulting firm. With its one-stop-shop approach, EnergySmart has since gone countywide, fueled by funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and a local tax on energy bills.
Yael Gichon is the residential sustainability coordinator for the city of Boulder.
What uses nearly 40 percent of America's primary energy, 13.6
percent of all U.S. potable water (15 trillion gallons a year), 40
percent of global raw materials (3 billion tons a year), accounts
for 39 percent of all CO2 emissions and comprises 15 percent of
U.S. gross domestic product?
Buildings. Buildings. And more buildings.
DUBUQUE, Iowa - With ROIs in some cases exceeding 200 percent,
and paybacks reported in one to three years, a coalition of local
government, industry and economic development leaders in Dubuque
are spreading the word: The low-hanging fruit in energy
conservation is lighting.
Replacing outdated and inefficient light fixtures in commercial,
industrial and institutional buildings has become a priority in
this Midwestern city of 60,000. Why?
With interest in conservation growing, green roofs are becoming
increasingly popular. From reducing heating and cooling costs to
helping manage and filter stormwater, vegetated roofs make economic
as well as environmental sense, municipal officials say.
There are currently just over 100 green roofs installed in
Washington, D.C. alone, with an additional 25 under construction
and many more in the concept/planning stage.
As a follow-up to her presentation at the recent Greenbuild
Conference and Expo in Chicago, Chief Research Engineer Kim Fowler
of the Pacific
Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., provided
attendees with an early draft of the commercial building
performance metrics being developed by the U.S. Department of
The metrics, drafted in September, are expected to be included
in a future release of a "User's Guide" being developed by the
DOE's Building Technologies Program.
Palo Alto, Calif., a city whose name means "tall tree" in
Spanish, takes its green heritage very seriously. Just try
demolishing a building there without recycling the required
materials: you'll pay a fine of $50 per ton with a $1,000 minimum.
Think you want to construct a new building without complying with
the city's green building ordinance? You'll pay $500 per day until
you get the building into compliance.
Kristin Parineh, sustainability planner in the Palo Alto
Planning Department & Green Building Program, is quick to point
out that no one has been fined yet. While she speculates the "very
stringent" penalties might have something to do with that, she also
believes the city goes out of its way to make sure developers are
informed and building plans are pre-qualified.
Two non-profit groups dedicated to helping cities design more
sustainable communities gave a presentation at the 2010 Greenbuild
International Conference and Expo in Chicago on Wednesday.
In a session titled How Leaders Shape Good Community Design,
Elizabeth Blazevich of the American Architectural Foundation, and
Radhika Mohan with The Mayors' Institute on City Design outlined
several programs aimed at helping local communities with
architectural planning and design.
Ask a hundred people what's most frustrating about measuring the
relative sustainability of a building, and 90 of them might say
something like this:
"What do I measure; how do I measure it; and what standards do I
measure it against?"
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), building-related construction and demolition
(C&D) debris totals more than 140 million tons per year. That
equates to roughly 40 percent of the national solid waste stream,
making C&D waste the largest single source of waste in our
All across the United States, municipalities and other
government organizations have been forced to address the burden
that C&D waste has placed on their landfills. In many
communities, landfill diversion initiatives have emerged with a new
emphasis on sustainable building practices.
CHICAGO, IL - The U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) Greenbuild
International Conference & Expo officially started Wednesday in
Chicago as retired Gen. Colin Powell addressed a crowd of 10,000 in
the opening keynote hall with a message of leadership and optimism
for the future.
Powell presented the Greenbuild 2010 opening keynote address at
a plenary session that also included a discussion between political
pundits Mary Matalin and James Carville and remarks from USGBC
President, CEO and Founding Chair Rick Fedrizzi.
By now the sustainability movement has introduced itself to
most every American city and town. Communities take pride in their
local recycling and composting programs, targeted emissions
standards, and other so-called smart practices. However, with the
rapid onset of the modern "green" movement, it seems that one of
the most practical, affordable, and sustainable solutions is at
risk of losing its true identity.
Adaptive reuse is the long-practiced method of
adapting old structures for new purposes. When the original use of
a structure changes or is no longer required, as is often the case
with older buildings, developers and architects have the
opportunity to change the primary function of the structure. Most
studies indicate that initial adaptation can extend a structure's
useful life by approximately 50 years. Ongoing maintenance and
further adaptation have the potential to stretch that timeline even
further. Structures that are commonly adapted for reuse include
under-used or abandoned churches, industrial complexes and
Lighting Expert Says LEDs Have Come of Age
Posted: April 09, 2013
If you looked at the costs and benefits of an energy-efficient lighting retrofit a few years ago but didn’t pull the trigger, Roger Stoskopf suggests you might want to look again.
Commercial Building Utility Tracking Platform Launched
Posted: April 08, 2013
BOSTON, Mass. -- WegoWise, a provider of building performance analytics, announced the launch of its commercial platform, providing a simple and inexpensive solution to track and benchmark utility data across all types of commercial buildings. Building off WegoWise's industry leadership in utility tracking for multifamily buildings, the expanded solution quickly identifies the least efficient buildings in broad commercial building portfolios for targeted energy upgrades which maximize ROI. WegoWise's commercial platform also offers seamless integration with Energy Star Portfolio Manager, helping customers comply with an increasing number of energy regulations across the country.
IES Renewable Energy Announces Partnership with Sunrun
Posted: March 19, 2013
HOUSTON, Texas -- IES Renewable Energy, LLC, a residential solar energy integrator and installer and indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Integrated Electrical Services, Inc., announced that it has entered into a new partnership with Sunrun, one of the nation’s home solar companies. Through this partnership, IES Renewable will design, engineer and manage the installation of residential solar systems. Sunrun will own, insure, monitor and maintain the equipment, so homeowners can go solar without high upfront cost or responsibilities of ownership and upkeep.
Company Able to Capture LEED Points Through New Demand Response Credit
Updated: January 28, 2013 - 10:17 pm
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- REGEN Energy's Swarm Energy Management solution helps facility owners to achieve points through the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED rating system. LEED is an internationally recognized green building program that provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. Through certification, projects are recognized for their work towards "greening" their facilities while simultaneously improving building performance and reducing their operating costs.
Canadian Solar Launches Next Generation ResidentialAC System
Updated: January 22, 2013 - 9:04 pm
TORONTO, Ont. -- Canadian Solar Inc., one of the world's largest solar power companies, announced the launch of its next generation ResidentialAC system.
Standard Energy Solutions Expands to Provide Home Energy Management Services
Posted: January 15, 2013
ROCKVILLE, Md. -- Standard Energy Solutions, a Standard Solar company, announced it has expanded to become a complete home energy solutions company providing home solar, energy efficiency and energy management services throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. With an expanded, renewed focus, SES helps customers take better control of their energy production through holistic product and solution offerings that help empower homeowners to minimize their energy usage.
Wayne State Expands with Detroit Renewable's Energy Network
Updated: January 07, 2013 - 8:34 pm
DETROIT, Mich. -- Detroit Thermal, operator of the downtown Detroit district energy steam system, announced the 25-year commitment by Wayne State University to Detroit Thermal's renewable steam network. Gordon H. Scott Hall and the Helen Vera Prentis Lande Building will join the network as part of the school's strategic sustainability efforts.
Canadian Solar Partners with PetersenDean on New Roofing Program
Posted: October 16, 2012
SAN RAMON, Calif. -- Canadian Solar Inc., one of the world's largest solar companies, announced it will partner with privately held roofing company PetersenDean on a new roofing program the company is introducing. PetersenDean has launched a successful solar division and will actively promote the new roofing program, capitalizing on its decades of roofing experience to improve the installation quality and costs for installation of a residential solar system.
Caterpillar Unveils First Hybrid Excavator
Posted: October 16, 2012
PEORIA, Ill. -- In its continued commitment to introduce products that bring the most value to customers, Caterpillar Inc. unveiled the first model in its new line of hybrid excavators. The Cat 336E H is the company's first machine to use a novel hydraulic hybrid technology developed internally by Caterpillar. Field tests have demonstrated this machine will significantly lower customers' owning and operating costs.
Energy Points and SustainEdge Launch University Sustainability Initiative
Updated: October 09, 2012 - 9:38 pm
BOSTON, Mass. -- Energy Points, a provider of energy analytics for universal resource management, and SustainEdge, a sustainability consultancy, announced the launch of the Higher Edge Energy Points Solution, a comprehensive trial solution designed to increase sustainability and reduce energy consumption at academic campuses.